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The Leopold Center is a research and education center on the campus of Iowa State University created to identify and reduce negative environmental and social impacts of farming and develop new ways to farm profitably while conserving natural resources. The Center's work is focused in these initiatives - ecological systems research, marketing and food systems research, policy research and cross-cutting research that bridges all areas (water, energy, soil and alternative farming systems).
The Leopold Center is a partner in two statewide efforts aimed at helping Iowa’s Monarch butterflies, honeybees and other pollinators. The ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has launched the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium to protect Monarch butterfly habitat critical to its reproduction in the state. The project includes planting 10,000 seeds of nine different milkweed species in greenhouses that will be transplanted into small demonstration plots on 13 ISU research farms. Work also will be done on larger research habitat plots to study how the plants grow, proliferate and adapt to local conditions. A second effort is led by Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines. More than 30 Iowa organizations are part of its “Plant. Grow. Fly.” program designed to encourage homeowners to use planted needed for habitat by butterflies and other pollinators. The Leopold Center also is funding new pollinator projects -- related to STRIPS and landscape diversity. Above, Monarch butterflies are attracted to swamp milkweed growing in a rain garden in early Auugust. [Photo by Inger Lamb]